“It’s refreshing to work for a company that sees the value in helping employees get back on their feet during the recovery process. Being able to retain their job status without fear is extremely valuable in recovery, it shows them someone cares. In turn they come back strong with something to give back, hard work & gratitude!!
The people that go through the program are not only wanting to show their gratitude by being great employees but they are able to be mentors for other employees who are in need. Everyone wins!!”-William Kramer, past President of the Labors Local 830 Missouri Labor Union
Tower Rock Stone Company in Saint Genevieve became the second business in the state of Missouri to earn the Recovery Friendly Workplace designation. On October 7, 2022, Ann McCauley, the Director of the Rural Opioids Technical Assistance Project and the Recovery Friendly Workplace initiative, Doug Swanson, a State Specialist in Labor and Workforce Development, and Estrella Carmona, a County Engagement Specialist in Nutrition and Health, presented Tower Rock Stone Company with the designation.
The Recovery Friendly Workplace designation comes at no cost to businesses. The University of Missouri Extension is funding the initiative through a Rural Opioids Technical Assistance grant to address substance use disorder in rural communities throughout Missouri. The initiative empowers workplaces to support people affected by substance use disorders and those in recovery. It improves productivity and profitability for businesses. The goal is to build a stronger workforce in Missouri by fostering a workplace culture that promotes employee safety, health, and well-being through strategies that provide support for managers and employees, including reducing stigma and providing recovery resources related to the challenges surrounding substance use disorders.
Torry Turlin, a minor at Tower Rock Stone Company and an employee in recovery, says “I’m very grateful to be working at a Recovery Friendly Workplace, very, very grateful.” Tower Rock Stone Company produces approximately 6,000,000 tons of stone annually nationwide. It operates an approved U.S. Army Corps of Engineers quarry and supplies commercial customers throughout the inland waterways and the Gulf Coast. It also supplies commercial customers throughout the lower Mississippi River Valley, including Memphis, Greenville, Vicksburg, Tallulah, and Lake Providence.
William Kraemer, a retired local union president, former Tower Rock Stone Company miner, and miner’s representative says, “It’s refreshing to work for a company that sees the value in helping employees get back on their feet during the recovery process. Being able to retain their job status without fear is extremely valuable in recovery. It shows them someone cares. In turn they come back strong with something to give back, hard work and gratitude!!”
Ann McCauley, the Director of the Rural Opioids Technical Assistance Project and the Recovery Friendly Workplace initiative, said, “Many employers are reluctant to hire people in recovery because they worry about compromising safety. Tower Rock has proven that this is not true. It has even won a national safety award several years in a row. It is our hope that businesses that have been reluctant to give people in recovery a second chance will hear the stories from Tower Rock Stone staff and leaders and decide to become recovery friendly, too. Tower Rock is a leader in dispelling the stigma that people in recovery face every day.”
Estrella Carmona, County Engagement Specialist in Nutrition and Health, said, “Stigma works against people with substance use disorders. It affects their health, well-being, and access to care. A workplace can create an environment where seeking help for a substance use disorder is acceptable. This is a giant step in combating stigma that can prevent individuals from seeking the help they need. Tower Rock Stone Company, through their leadership, support, and policies, demonstrates a great model for others to follow.”
This article was written by Ann McCauley, MU Extension Project Director of Recovery Friendly Workplace.